An Eggstravaganza of Eggplant Proportions: Eggplant Dip & Pizza

Alright, so perhaps two recipes does not truly qualify as an eggstravaganza, but they're both delicious ways to enjoy eggplant.  As I, somehow, had been a hater of eggplant, within the last few years I have turned my life around.  Recipes like these have aided in my recovery.

The first recipe, similar to the one my mom makes, is an easy and delicious dip perfect for carrots, celery, broccoli, or other veggies (I like raw zucchini or cucumber cut into sticks) or can be served with tortilla chips, pita bread, or crusty bread.  It is like baba ghanoush or hummus, but without some of the sesame ingredients.

What you need:
- good knife
- cutting board
- baking sheets
- olive oil for sheets (or perhaps Misto)
- food processor and steel blade attachment

- 1 large eggplant, cubed
- 1-2 red peppers, sliced and seeded
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tomato, diced or 3 T of diced canned tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- olive oil

[For the batch I made, I used two eggplants, but one will make plenty, so unless you have a reason for a huge batch, go with one.]

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and cube eggplant.  Slice and seed red pepper(s).  Mince garlic before or after oven, depending on preference (either way works).  Lightly oil baking sheets or spray with Misto. 

Roast eggplant cubes and pepper slices (and garlic, if desired) in the oven until slightly brown and softened, approximately 45 minutes.

[In case you are short on time: I did this step a day or so prior to actually making the dip, because the oven was on for something else, so it does not have to be back to back.]

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Combine and process with other ingredients in food processor.  Use salt, pepper, and oil sparingly, to taste.

Find something wonderful to dip and enjoy!

- - - - -
The second recipe is a Pinterest find after putting eggplant parm off for a few days.  Do you ever get into that mode where you make something seem harder than it truly is and as a result, you can't bring yourself to do it...? 

My girlfriend and her husband gave us a box of local fruits and veggies the other day, so I was inspired and determined to make use of the eggplant and a few of the others. 

I was feeling overwhelmed at the idea of making parm (don't ask me why), so I found a similar, but much more agreeable alternative: pizza! 

Pizza is one of my favorite foods ever!  Not only do I love cheese, but I love the possibilities in delicious veggie topping combinations.  Since going gluten-free, sometimes we do this gf pizza crust or this super quick pizza, but not terribly often.  I could basically eat pizza everyday, so Danny and I have to balance it out.

If you've never heard of The Domestic Man, you're missing out.  This eggplant pizza recipe is fabulous and had Danny raving, too.  If you like it, check out his cookbook hereI simply followed his recipe, so I don't want to take credit for his creation.  Below is just how my version came out.  Please see his original recipe.

What you need:
- good knife
- cutting board
- baking sheet(s)
- cooking rack(s)
- olive oil for eggplant (I used my Misto)
- towels for drying eggplant
(- optional: herb scissors to cut spinach)

- 1- 2 large eggplants, sliced
- 1/2- 3/4 c tomato or pizza sauce (I served it with gf pasta, so I used the pasta sauce)
- 1/2- 3/4 c mozzarella cheese
 - sea salt and pepper
 - olive oil for brushing or Misto
- any desired toppings
[we used: fresh spinach, mushrooms, garlic, onions, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes]

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wash and slice eggplant(s).

Salt each side of slices and put aside.  The Domestic Man suggested 30 minutes; I did about 10.  Give it what you have.  If you prep everything in the mean time, you'll be all set.

Rinse and dry slices with towels.

Brush or spray eggplant slices with olive oil, then sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.  Placing slices on cooking racks (which are placed on baking sheets), bake approximately six minutes or until beginning to brown.

Top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings.  We did sauce, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, onions, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Yum!

Bake for another five to seven minutes, until cheese melts.
Allow to cool slightly and enjoy.
Because these were all veggies, I served these pizzas with brown rice pasta and a garden vegetable sauce.  It was an amazing and filling meal!  Thank you for the delicious and nutritious recipe idea, Domestic Man.
Health Benefits:
Eggplant: high in fiber, vitamin B1, a phytonutrient called nasunin (an antioxidant found to protect cell membranes from damage), abundantly supplies phenolic compounds (that function as antioxidants), and anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-LDL and antiviral promotion from its chlorogenic acid

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